Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Red Madness.

Jarrow, Gail.  Red Madness.   Boyd's Mills/Calkins Creek    2014  192p  $16.95  ISBN 978-1-59078-732-8      ms/hs   Nonfiction  VG-BN

Jarrow’s non-fiction medical history reads like a fast-paced mystery thriller.  Casual readers and student researchers will find themselves tearing through the story of the pellagra epidemic of 1902.  Set in the past, the story resonates with issues that readers still face today: the threat of pandemic, delayed response in the face of disaster, and human nature (fear, superstition, and ignorance).  

Pellagra is a devastating illness that presents as a red rash, but rapidly progresses
the longer it goes untreated to leave victims weak, disfigured, insane, or even dead.  One hundred years ago, little was known about the illness that struck tens of thousands of victims in the American South.  Scientists did not know what caused it or how to treat it.

Supplemented with 100 archival photographs, Jarrow’s text chronicles how doctors, scientists, and public health officials raced to defeat the disease.
 Particularly gripping are the stories of real-life pellagra victims and accounts of scientific investigations.  Researchers will also find the glossary, timeline, resource lists, author’s note, bibliography, and index useful.          

Summary: Jarrow tracks the history of pellagra, a disease that leaves its victims weak, disfigured, insane, and sometimes dead.

Pellagra                                                    --Hilary Welliver

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